To the crushing devastation of many million TT readers, I've had a hard time writing about baseball lately. I've been having kind of a shit year. My employer since 2000 canned me after I got injured at work, then salted the battlefield -- it's been the worst experience of my life. Friends and family were diagnosed with hideous (optimistically treatable!) cancers. 2016 has just blown chunks.
And then the new neighbors moved in next door.
My wife was a little nervous when we learned John Rocker had bought that house. I tried to maintain a positive tone. You know, he's said some hideous, repugnant things, but maybe he didn't mean most of them. Maybe he'll be more mature, now.
So we visited, and brought over green bean hotdish. Mr. Rocker seemed quite pleasant at first. He mentioned he was from Georgia. He asked where we grew up. I said Oregon, and my wife said, Albuquerque. Rocker's face narrowed into a menacing scowl. "Albuquerque? Never heard of it. Where's that?"
When my wife replied, "New Mexico," Rocker turned bright red and slammed the door. All that hotdish, and we had to eat it ourselves! (It was yummy.) Now, every day, several times a day, Rocker opens a window and tosses baseballs into our yard with weird cryptic messages scribbled on them. Like "go back to Cuba, you Juice!" Or "Margaret & James, you are such liars, the worst ever, you're gonna pay for your lies, I promise!" This kind of gibberish.
Each baseball has an ancient Hindu symbol for the wheel of life scrawled on it. I do not understand what this is meant to convey. Is Mr. Rocker a believer in that great, venerable religion, and had we offended him somehow? The hotdish didn't even have beef in it! (We use the Boca fake-meat frozen crumbles. I've gotten a bit of a beer belly this year, and I'm trying to cut calories.)
And then Mr. Rocker's roommates started moving in.
First was Marge Schott. Yeah, I thought she died in 2004, too! Nope, that was a ruse, she had friends in high places who cryogenically froze her, waiting for the day when her particular mixture of stupidity and toxicity would be needed to walk the Earth again.
She's got this dog, Blondi, that she takes everywhere. It's some kind of mix between Great Dane and wolfhound, and it poops giant piles constantly. Needless to say, Schott doesn't bag the poops, and when anyone asks her to she just sneers "how much money do you have, loser?" So the neighborhood has to go around, picking up her mess. Which is covered in dead flies. We've all taken to wearing those industrial-strength chemical-scrubbing gloves.
Then Delmon Young. He seemed pretty harmless for awhile, didn't say much, spent most of his time in the garage, building what looks to be the world's biggest Hibachi. I mean, forget about pig roasting on this thing. You could roast a baleen whale. And, for some odd reason, after he moved in, we all started seeing sticks of gum lying around. Unchewed! Just sticks of gum! It was baffling at first.
Well, Mr. Young's fashioned some kind of hat from the foil wrappers on that chewing gum. He wears it all the time. And each night, at 3 AM, he runs out of the house to the street, turns on his battery-powered megaphone, and shouts "they're coming to get us, sheeple!" Every squirrel in every tree starts chittering in terror. It's a complete ruckus. We've all been buying so much NyQuil, the manufacturer now delivers it directly door-to-door in office-water-jug carboys.
Finally, Curt Schilling. He mostly stays indoors, staring from the attic. Constantly staring. Our Somali friends say that hairs on the back of their necks stand up when they walk by that house. Local girls ages 12-17 are warned at school not to go within 1000 feet of the property.
And this part's the weirdest. I've been waiting for months to get a job interview from "ESPN Magazine." Before his tragically fatal cricket mishap, former Blog Pope Jesse kept telling me "I got peeps there, I'll hook you up." So, several times a week, our phone rings, with the caller ID reading "Bristol, Connecticut."
Like a moron, I pick it up. And what do I hear? This thunderous, juicy fart. Followed by creepy laughter.
I guess I can't prove it's Schilling. But here's the thing! I didn't know this was technically possible, but every time I get these calls, the phone exudes a fart smell! And it's a very specific smell. It combines aromas of cheesesteak, New England clam chowder, and a putrefied human soul.
Anyhoo, I'll try to get back on the writing train. But it's been tough! These people are scaring the hell out of me!